The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?



  • @dumpsterac1d said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    Suppression Field hits my fetches

    This is a valid point. Perhaps because I think about taxing decks more in terms of different tribes, notably humans, I never thought about using fetch lands in such decks. And with the recent printing of Unclaimed Territory, I just can't help sticking to my guns. With 4x Caverns of Souls and 4x Unclaimed Territory perhaps it is possible to have a more stable five-color humans without fetch lands. Have you thought about this approach?

    Shops has a 3-mana land that helps them avoid actually paying for taxing effects, and the best a Human deck with 9 Thorns can do is just stick with creatures as much as possible.

    On the bright side, these three mana can be used only to cast artifact spells. With Suppression Field in play Shops will be constrained on resources and may inflict a lot of damage from Ancient Tombs.

    Same goes for spot removal in Instant form (Swords, Disenchant, etc). I really need to find those effects on legs in order for it to be included (which sucks, but there are options). If they ever print a Null Rod on legs, it's all over.

    With printing of Walking Ballista it is harder to protect life points from creatures, but perhaps Propaganda or Ghostly Prison are still good options (at least for sideboard). Have you tried either of them?

    And I wouldn't expect Wizards to print Magus of the Rod after they introduced an artifact themed block.

    I also have Windborn Muse as a 1-of, but it hasn't come up in Dredge yet.

    I like that the Muse is a 2/3 flying Propaganda. I don't like that she costs four mana and is a spirit. I thought about Peacekeeper

    Altogether, I really think the sheer number of blanket hate cards in white, and the number of relevant Humans (And Cats, weirdly) increasing almost every set means the deck should be given a lot more consideration to than it currently is.

    Speaking about cats, I found only two white cats that are useful - Leonin Arbiter and Leonin Relic-Warder. Both are Clerics as well. And if Green is something one can splash, Nacatl Savage and Qasali Pridemage can help specifically against Shops.


  • TMD Supporter

    Question for everyone;

    Are Taxing decks still in the realm of Shops variants, or are there enough cards elsewhere to get something reliably constructed and winning? I'm focusing on Humans, but I've heard mention of Eldrazi as well - what would that look like?

    @chronatog said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    This is a valid point. Perhaps because I think about taxing decks more in terms of different tribes, notably humans, I never thought about using fetch lands in such decks. And with the recent printing of Unclaimed Territory, I just can't help sticking to my guns. With 4x Caverns of Souls and 4x Unclaimed Territory perhaps it is possible to have a more stable five-color humans without fetch lands. Have you thought about this approach?

    Unclaimed Territory is pretty cool, but my main reason for using Cavern isn't really fixing it's more ensuring that key cards actually hit the table. The fixing is coming from duals and fetches, and while UT would solve the fixing issue, I have 5 or so basics in the list which I'd love to be able to dig out against Shops, BUG, and Standstill variants.

    With printing of Walking Ballista it is harder to protect life points from creatures, but perhaps Propaganda or Ghostly Prison are still good options (at least for sideboard). Have you tried either of them?

    I wrote a detailed (now way outdated and abandoned) primer here about a list I had been developing last year that includes most of the things you're mentioning: http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/482/developing-budget-vintage-unpowered-white-hatebears/

    And I wouldn't expect Wizards to print Magus of the Rod after they introduced an artifact themed block.

    I honestly wouldn't put it past them, they've printed two Null Rods and keep replicating or slightly transforming cards that have relevant abilities. I think the problem with Null Rod Man in KLD is that it would have been a hoser for most decks in the format, it would have put a halt to all the trouble they put into developing the cards, and if they DID print it in an artifact-heavy set, it would have had to have been overcosted to adjust it ahead a few turns (think a 3/3 for 4CMC that's also a Null Rod, a.k.a unplayable anywhere but standard).

    I like that the Muse is a 2/3 flying Propaganda. I don't like that she costs four mana and is a spirit. I thought about Peacekeeper

    Peacekeeper seems good, especially that you can basically just stop paying at any point if you get ahead on board. I was initially thinking about Silent Arbiter, but I am trying out High Priest of Penance. Should act as a micro one-sided Moat anti-sweeper card of sorts.


  • TMD Supporter

    The only way you’re going to be able to play prison is with Ensnaring Bridge


  • TMD Supporter

    Bridge seems decent. I like Moat Man better if I were to go that route though, as it's a Human, doesn't get priced out of reach by Thalia and Glowrider, and lets my fliers do their thing.


  • TMD Supporter

    @dumpsterac1d

    Doesn’t Moat cost 4 mana sources while Bridge only costs 1?

    Assuming that effect is essential to the strategy, which I think it is given the speed of Aggro shops.

    By definition, a Prison deck has to stop the opponent from being able to win. In this meta that’s stopping Delver, Pyromancer, Ravager, Overseer, Zombie tokens... you have to stop attacks before you can do anything



  • @topical_island said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    What's good these days? Serenity... now?

    I forgot to comment on Serenity.

    In the Chalice/Lodestone era my plan against Shops with mono-white was a combination of Swords, Abolish and Serenity which was pretty good, but the main problem was that the Shops player would just deploy new threats post-Serenity. When Chalice was restricted, the Abolish plan wasn't needed anymore and in the Ravager/Thorn era, Serenity wasn't that good because the Shops deck got faster, still played a lot of Sphere effects and still was just able to deploy new threats post-Serenity.

    But right now I think that Serenity is much better for two reasons and despite the fact that the Shops decks have gotten even faster:

    1. They empty their hand very quickly, leaving them with very few resources after a resolved Serenity
    2. They play much fewer lockpieces, making it much easier to cast Serenity.

    I do however think that you need to build your maindeck to support Serenity in the sideboard as you don't want too much of your own stuff blown up, which probably means no Phyrexian Revokers.



  • How about Propaganda and/or Ghostly Prison? Do they not slow aggro mud down enough alongside Swords, Bolts, Balance, and bounce? 3 mana for a psuedo Moat versus them seems quite good.



  • @serracollector said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    How about Propaganda and/or Ghostly Prison? Do they not slow aggro mud down enough alongside Swords, Bolts, Balance, and bounce? 3 mana for a psuedo Moat versus them seems quite good.

    I think that if you ever get to 3 mana before you're dead, they will just dump everything onto Ravager and kill you off with Ballista.



  • Destroying their threats as you play your threats is the best strategy. Look at Abolish, you will need to be a bit land heavy but it helps to have "free" spells.

    I have also been looking at replacing Swords to Plowshares with Path to Exile. Most decks will not get more than one land off of the Path to Exile.

    Remember to play Revokers too, they shutdown Ballista or Ravager or Overseer.

    I have been looking hard at Pithing Needle main deck too, it is very useful.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    @dumpsterac1d

    Doesn’t Moat cost 4 mana sources while Bridge only costs 1?

    Assuming that effect is essential to the strategy, which I think it is given the speed of Aggro shops.

    By definition, a Prison deck has to stop the opponent from being able to win. In this meta that’s stopping Delver, Pyromancer, Ravager, Overseer, Zombie tokens... you have to stop attacks before you can do anything

    I'm sorry, but Bridge sucks...

    Bridge doesn't cost 1 mana source, it costs 3 colorless. If I drop that as early as I can, say, turn 1 off of a Lotus or a land + crypt, my hand is at best, 4 cards large if I kept a 7. I'm not sure what other people are doing to dump their hands on turn 2 without reliably drawing more cards or replacing them, but my deck usually doesn't get to 1 card in hand until turn 4-ish. Which wouldn't stop Pyromancer tokens. Bridge seems terrible for "speed" unless you're fighting Oath or a deck full of Blightsteel Colossi. Personally? an effective Bridge shuts off my deck.

    If we're talking the best cards that tax as many decks as possible, it seems difficult to find something better than Moat, or the mini-moat "I tax your attacks" effect that Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Windborn Muse, Archangel of Tithes-ish cards have, in addition to Null Rod/Stony Silence, and possibly Suppression Field. Taxing attacks affects BUG, Pyro Delver, Shops, Dredge, and if P.O. decides to grab Mentor. Null Rod/Stony hits every deck except Dredge in some way and is great against P.O., Shops, and Vault/Key. Suppression Field has probably the widest application of all of these because it hits fetches, wastelands, man-lands, planeswalkers, Deathrite Shamans, Ballistas, etc etc.

    @Griselbrother how is 3 mana prohibitive! I'm confused. Are people saying that any deck other than Shops has an impossible time generating enough mana to play 3-drops on turn 1 or 2? I think in the past week I've had 2 people drop Jace on turn 1 against me while I was holding a t1 3-drop. If you drop a Prison t1 or even t2 against Shops, They'll most likely have to make a decision of whether to attack or cast spells which can buy you time, and they can't pay for Prison with Shop mana. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but in combination with Null Rod, Suppression Field, targeted removal, etc, it can do work.

    I think the problem is that people want a "Golden Gun" against any deck, like they want to bring in one card from the SB without thinking too hard and just draw it and then their opponent scoops. I can think of several combinations of the cards mentioned that, together, could incapacitate a Shops deck, and many others. Since they're incapable of running crippling taxing effects now and have basically stopped putting things like Tangle Wire into the deck, having 2 or even 3 cards that are really good against shops (but not golden gun good) is perfectly reasonable. I don't think they'll print this for us:

    Magus of "I Kill Shops Decks"
    U
    Flash, Haste, Hexproof.
    T: Destroy all artifacts your opponents control.
    1/6

    so... We might as well just pick things that have the broadest applications in Vintage and use a few of them. Personally, I have 3 Kataki, 3 Stony, 2 Muse, 3 Relic Warder and more, and I'm trying Suppression Field in the SB, but I'm not personally sure it fits into my deck yet. One thing I am quite sure about is that Ensnaring Bridge isn't going to work unless the deck is built around it, and with JUST Bridge and your hand at zero cards, I'm not even sure it would be effective when Ballista is a card.


  • TMD Supporter

    Ensnaring Bridge is played from Mishras Workshop.. (a single mana source)

    Moat HAS to be cast using more than one mana source and more often than not, 4. That’s 5 cards of your 7 card opener going towards one effect... if your follow up is like, Spirit of the Lab or Thalia, you’re not winning that game.


  • TMD Supporter

    @desolutionist

    I'm not even quite sure where you're imagining this is going... Are you telling me to play Workshop in a white/x Humans deck for a marginally useful card, or are you talking about Bridge being useful in the only deck that runs Workshop?

    If you play brige off a full hand and somehow you have Workshop in that deck, and your follow up is a card not relevant to Shops you're worse off than if you just waited a turn and dropped Moat because you still have 5 cards in your hand. Or 4 or even 3 cards, they have an attacker they can swing in with. Even at 2 cards in hand they can swing with Revoker or a 2/2 Ballista.

    I'd like to begin talking about 3-drops as "one mana source cards" since they can be cast off Lotus. What are we even talking about?


  • Administrators

    I think he's implying that a colorless prison/taxing deck is better than a white/humans prison/taxing deck, and laying out reasons that's the case. I think it's a fair argument.

    I don't know that you need a Moat or a Bridge to stay competitive, but you definitely need to have a gameplan in mind to deal with an aggressive opponent. The white creatures talked about in this thread so far are pretty small, so if your opponent's gameplan is just "play a couple of medium-to-large-sized dudes, you might be in trouble without help


  • TMD Supporter

    @brass-man Of course, that has to be a consideration. 3/3s are relevant creatures against a puny white deck, and the Aggro Humans deck looks to be super difficult for my deck to deal with, as an example.

    The good news is that Shops plays artifacts, and there's a lot of tech already out there that hates on artifacts as well as cards that are maindeckable that also tax a good portion of the field.

    I don't for a second think that Shops is the only way to cast taxing cards, counting on Shops as the way to cast that type of card is pretty limiting at this point, imo. There are so many more options.


  • TMD Supporter

    Oh I thought this was a thread about prison decks in Vintage. I didn’t know you just wanted to talk about humans.

    If we’re talking about Prison as an archetype, which is something I’m interested in, I personally believe that such a deck needs to start by stopping attack and Ensnaring Bridge/Mishra’s Workshop is the best way to do that. I think Ghostly Prison is only good when you have multiple in play and Moat is pretty expensive.

    You can see that the mono red deck, that operates like a Prison deck, plays a full set of Bridges and doesn’t even play Shop. But why wouldn’t you play Shop if you were on Bridge? You also gain access to all the great Prison cards such as Trinisphere, Tangle Wire, and Smokestack

    Maybe first we should identify whether or not you think that it’s necessary to stop Ravagers or Tokens from attacking. I think it is because Prison is not a deck that wins quickly.



  • Sorry, I didn't notice this reply until now.

    @dumpsterac1d said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

    @Griselbrother how is 3 mana prohibitive! I'm confused. Are people saying that any deck other than Shops has an impossible time generating enough mana to play 3-drops on turn 1 or 2? I think in the past week I've had 2 people drop Jace on turn 1 against me while I was holding a t1 3-drop. If you drop a Prison t1 or even t2 against Shops, They'll most likely have to make a decision of whether to attack or cast spells which can buy you time, and they can't pay for Prison with Shop mana. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but in combination with Null Rod, Suppression Field, targeted removal, etc, it can do work.

    3 mana isn't impossible to get to, yet it's still worth mentioning that Hatebears has a harder time getting to 3 mana than most other decks because of the lack of draw and card filtering.

    I think the problem is that people want a "Golden Gun" against any deck, like they want to bring in one card from the SB without thinking too hard and just draw it and then their opponent scoops. I can think of several combinations of the cards mentioned that, together, could incapacitate a Shops deck, and many others. Since they're incapable of running crippling taxing effects now and have basically stopped putting things like Tangle Wire into the deck, having 2 or even 3 cards that are really good against shops (but not golden gun good) is perfectly reasonable. I don't think they'll print this for us:

    Magus of "I Kill Shops Decks"
    U
    Flash, Haste, Hexproof.
    T: Destroy all artifacts your opponents control.
    1/6

    so... We might as well just pick things that have the broadest applications in Vintage and use a few of them. Personally, I have 3 Kataki, 3 Stony, 2 Muse, 3 Relic Warder and more, and I'm trying Suppression Field in the SB, but I'm not personally sure it fits into my deck yet. One thing I am quite sure about is that Ensnaring Bridge isn't going to work unless the deck is built around it, and with JUST Bridge and your hand at zero cards, I'm not even sure it would be effective when Ballista is a card.

    I agree with your statement that you, in general, want to play cards that have a broad application, which I believe I also mentioned earlier. I also wrote that "In my experience it takes a pretty dedicated build and a combination of quite a few cards to beat shops" which pretty clearly indicates that I'm not looking for a "Golden Gun" against Shops. While I do think that Ghostly Prison has some application across matchups (although it's definitely not what I want to be doing against Delver/Pyro/BUG), I think that it's actually an example of such a "Golden Gun" and probably not a very good one (though it should be said that I haven't tested it) because it's a) slow and b) can be played around.


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